Sugar Pine Walk destroyed in bushfire
The Sugar Pine Walk in Bago State Forest was an iconic site on the NSW State Forest estate that was sadly devastated in the 2019-20 bushfire season.
The area is becoming unsafe so work is happening now to remove the burnt timber, as well as plan for a replacement site for future generations to one day again enjoy the majesty of the world’s tallest and largest pine species.
The remaining site is dangerous and closed to the public due to the danger posed from falling dead and dying trees.
Impact of the fires
Pine is particularly sensitive to fire damage and the intensity of the recent bushfires has left all trees in the Sugar Pine Walk dead or dying.
The site is one of the many losses in the bushfire season. As one of NSW’s four firefighting agencies, we have seen the devastation that bushfire can bring.
Our thoughts are with those who have lost homes and loved ones.
History of Sugar Pine Walk
Sugar Pine (Pinus lamertina) is native to the west coast of America and is the largest and tallest of all pine species. The site was planted in 1928 as a range of different exotic species were being trialed by the forestry industry.
The significance of Sugar Pine Walk
The site is sentimental to both Forestry Corporation staff and the wider community for the pine trees’ size and stature. The close planting of this species trial and the way the trees have grown over time created a unique cathedral-like experience for visitors walking under the canopy.
Many people, including some of our staff, have been married in the Sugar Pine Walk, so we all are connected through shared memories on the site.
Site is closed – please avoid
The site is strictly closed to the public and forest visitors must avoid the area for their own safety. Please obey all signage and direction from Forestry Corporation staff and authorised contractors.
Preserving the memory
Our staff are exploring how to mark the passing of the forest and how best to commemorate the loss.
Planning is underway for a replacement Sugar Pine Walk, with seedlings from the current site being collected for propagation and replanting. However, this will take a generation to grow into a Sugar Pine Walk akin to the one we have lost, so we are working to develop a visitor site in the forest for the local community.
Plantation forestry has been a part of the local landscape for a century and some of the radiata pine trees that were planted in the industry’s earliest days were not impacted by fire. We are working on plans to develop a new visitor area that celebrates 100 years of forestry in the region.
We are also looking at other ways we can preserve the memory of Sugar Pine Walk and share this with the community.
As it is unsafe to enter the area, to share the experience of the burnt forest, we are commissioning a photographer to capture Sugar Pine Walk as it stands and will share these with the community.
We will also be holding a photo competition to capture the community’s memories of the Sugar Pine Walk before it was impacted by fire.
We have no option but to remove the trees — the site is incredibly dangerous due to the burnt standing timber.
Burnt timber can remain salvageable for timber processing and we will be working with local businesses and contractors to harvest and process the timber.